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Maray at Mansion House

Maray at Mansion House

On Saturday evening we pulled on our warmest clothes and headed deep in to the winding paths of Calderstones park in search of our dinner.

An odd place to go for food on any other night but we were in search of the Calderstones Mansion House, a Grade 2 listed building built in 1828 (a quick google search informs me). Tonight, one of our absolute favourite foodie locations-Maray,  was coming together with a charity called The Reader. I'd never heard of them before but what they do is actually quite special- using Shared Reading as a way of reducing social isolation and bringing people in communities together. When refurbishment is finished, the Mansion House at Calderstones will be the base for the charity.

Maps in hand, we eventually spotted a sign (and the smell of food cooking) and headed down a tucked away path towards the beautiful gardens of the Mansion House. Greeted with a glass of frosty prosecco, we took a seat on a bench under the trees and spent some time admiring the garden and the menu to come.

As the gardens began to fill up, trays of canapes began swirling through the crowd. We started with a little mouthful of salt baked kohlrabi with caramelised apricot. I wasn't sure what to make of this at first but the apricots were sticky and sweet and the perfect match for the crunchy veg.

Next up, one of my favourites for the night. Whipped smoked eel & horseradish crostini. I would have eaten the whole tray of these had I been given the chance. Just like a creamy mackerel pate except slightly saltier (and fishier). It went so well with my second drink of the night- the Mansion House Punch.

Now I'm assuming this was specially created for the night given it's name but if this had a permanent slot on the Maray Bar I would have to go back immediately for another.  Havana rum, pineapple, earl grey, orange, lime, mint & bitters. It was strong and punchy and I managed a solid 3 before I started struggling to see my dinner.

At 7.30 we took our seats on the benches inside the pagoda. Said our 'iya' to our new table mates and had a quick Game of Thrones debate with the people to our left. As you do.

The starters arrived.

Confit baby plum tomatoes, dakos, figs, goats cheese, honey & thyme. Pretty as a picture. I cannot bear goats cheese but I tucked in to the fruit and let my dinner date finish the rest so he was pretty chuffed.

Then followed the main event(s).

Sumac brined and BBQ'ed chicken with charred peaches.

Lamp rump, harissa and dukka. On the side was a bean salad with strawberries, tahini and balsamic.

Pitta, hummus, labneh. pistachios & roasted tomatoes. Like squishy, tasty pillows of air.

Herb smoked clams and mussels with prawn & scallop.

Plus the ever infamous Maray 'Disco' Cauli with a twist. This time a romenesco cauliflower with all the usual trimmings.

To finish the evening we had BBQ bananas, granola and chantilly for dessert (washed down with a G&T for good measure).

Fully stuffed, a little tipsy and slightly frozen we headed off back in to the dark of the park and home to bed.

This was such a lovely night so keep your eyes peeled for the next event. Until then, you can sort out your Maray fix:-

or find out more about The Reader.

EL x

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